The NZ Herald recently conducted an unscientific poll of 17,000 people quizzing them about what their most important issue was in terms of deciding their vote. Unsurprisingly given the current economic climate Jobs and the Economy was ranked first by a long margin as yo can see above.
So who does this favour and what does this tell us about the election? Conventional wisdom says that this poll favours the National Party. They have consistently received the backing of the business community and their promise to balance the budget by taking a tough line on spending is bound to appeal to the average voter. Secondly, John Key is ranked more favourably than Phil Goff in terms of economic stewardship so this probably points to a National victory at the polls.
Where this theory might come unstuck is unemployment levels which have remained high under National, the sale of state owned assets which may account for the large focus on the economy, and national’s employment laws which favour employers over employees.
These policies may galvanise lower-middle income voters and get them to turn up at the polls where in 2008 many stayed at home. If this eventuates 2011 may be a far closer election than many pundits predicted earlier.
Lastly, this result favours the major parties over the minor ones. Labour and National are the only parties which can have a significant impact on the economy post election and this poll result may point to a consolidation of votes to either Labour or National come the time when voters stare down the ballot paper.
At the end of the day this is just speculation as all poll reading largely is. This poll could be significant, or it could not and we’ll only know the answer after the last ballot is counted. The important thing is to get out and vote and have your say!